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St.Giles Trust (www.stgilestrust.org.uk)
Tom's Trust has agreed to help fund the work of St Giles and more specifically "SOS+", a service that provides targeted support to young people across London identified as being at serious risk of expulsion from school, offending and/or gang involvement.
The SOS Service
The SOS service has been running since 2006 and was developed with the aim of reducing serious offending among young people aged 15-25. It originally started in Southwark working with offenders within the age range 18-30 leaving Rochester Young Offenders Institute.
SOS seeks to help ex gang members and ex offenders make positive, sustainable lifestyle changes by directing them towards education, training and employment opportunities in the community. Its unique credibility derives from the fact that it is solely ex offender led. With the support of caseworkers, clients are set targets monitored in the form of regular meetings and channelled towards additional housing, family relations, substance abuse or support building self-esteem if necessary. SOS operates pan London and currently serves the Boroughs of Southwark, Kensington and Chelsea, Westminster, Ealing, Croydon, Greenwich, Brent (and soon to be Hackney and Lambeth).
SOS+ targets young people identified as being on the brink of school/social exclusion and criminal activity. Prior to working in any of the settings described above, a member from the team will meet with school/agency staff to discuss expectations for the sessions and what modules/presentations would work best. Modules and presentations vary in structure and length (half to full day) depending on the request of agency/schools and the key issues affecting young people in the area. Sessions are interactive and always generate thought-provoking discussion that amounts to far more than a presentation. They are designed to challenge the young people and as such, the SOS+ team will remain on hand during lunch break to answer questions and help deal with issues on a one-to-one basis. This also ensures they have time to find out who really needs their help and those most at risk of being caught up in youth violence/crime.
SOS has an enviable track record of breaking the cycle of negative behaviour and offending. Indeed, an independent evaluation of their work in Croydon found that the reoffending rate of 31% for the young people they were supporting, all with extensive offending histories, compared favourably to the national reconviction rate for this cohort which currently stands at between 58-70%.
Tom's Trust firmly believes that SOS+ is a unique social initiative that significantly reduces the likelihood of young people joining gangs, getting into trouble or re-offending, which is exactly the purpose of this Memorial Trust.